A judge heard evidence Tuesday against the two men accused of killing a man whose decomposed body, riddled with stab wounds, was found in a barrel floating in Chula Vista’s marina last October.
Timothy John Cook, 52, and Derrick Jefferson Spurgeon, 38, were in court for a preliminary hearing in connection with the death of 28-year-old Omar Medina, whose body was found Oct. 12 stuffed in a 55-gallon drum floating in the San Diego Bay off the Chula Vista marina.
The Chula Vista Police Department (CVPD) arrested the two men in December after search warrants were served on two addresses: McIntosh Street in Chula Vista and Rios Canyon Road in El Cajon.
In court Tuesday, CVPD officer Robin Garret testified about speaking with Cook at his home, where he and Medina lived.
Garret's body camera footage played and showed Cook showing the police officer around the home where Medina lived.
The attorneys for Cook and Spurgeon were also in court and expected to question their clients during the preliminary hearing.
Cook was charged with one count of murder and faces 87 years to life in behind bars if convicted. Spurgeon faces a charge of accessory to murder.
On Oct. 12, a diver spotted a plastic barrel with a hazard tag and a wireline attached to it, floating in the water off J Street and Marina Parkway. He called harbor police to report the object, saying he was concerned that it could be a navigational hazard.
The barrel appeared to be tied down with cement blocks. Police believe a metal chain may have also weighed it down before it broke loose and surfaced at the marina. Police said there was no rust on the barrel, so it was likely in the water for only a few days before it was discovered.
When police pulled the barrel to the shore, they made a grisly discovery: a body was inside, so badly decomposed that the San Diego County Medical Examiner's Office said the remains could take a while to identify.
Police had identified Medina as the victim in late November after an autopsy used fingerprints and a tattoo on his left ankle to identify him -- about six weeks after his remains were discovered.
The autopsy report, released in January, revealed that Medina had been stabbed dozens of times from his scalp to his chest. He had stab wounds to his nose, mouth, scalp, neck and fingers.